Google’s search chief Amit Singhal said for the first time this summer, more Google searches were completed on mobile devices than desktop computers.
Singhal said Google fields more than 100 billion searches per month. The number is particularly significant because Singhal was speaking about just devices with screens that are less than six inches, so it excludes many tablets.
During the interview with Kara Swisher at Code/Mobile on Thursday, Singhal spoke about the future of the company’s search products.
“It does seem a little neanderthal-ish to put words in a box,” Swisher said, challenging Singhal on the company’s search function.
Though Google commanded the market share of desktop search, Google increasingly competes with Facebook and Apple for mobile web browsers. The company that dominated advertising on desktop has struggled to monetize mobile.
Though the shift to mobile suggests Google is adapting to the new digital landscape, it poses more of a challenge for the company as mobile search is increasingly vertical. Shoppers increasingly are bypassing Google and searching for products directly on Amazon.
Singhal said when designing search for mobile, the company thinks about how you want different search options depending on your setting and your device. He said you don’t want to be talking to your phone when you’re sitting in a quiet presentation, but when you’re walking your dog you wouldn’t want to have to type much.
One way Google has tried to improve search on mobile is through Google Now, its personal assistant. But Google Now faces still competition from other artificially intelligent, voice recognition assistants, like Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana.
Singhal’s announcement comes one day after the company unveiled its Accelerated Mobile Pages Product. As its name suggests, the project aims to help webpages load more quickly. Many view the product as a competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles, though Google says it is not limited to news publications.